The History of My Sexuality
by Tobi Lakmaker, translated by Kristen Gehrman
Granta, 181 p., January 2024
Original title: De geschiedenis van mijn sexualiteit, Das Mag
‘The history of my sexuality is as follows: I have always been looking for someone to close all the doors and windows, someone who would say, okay, that’s enough now. More precisely, first I was into men and later into women, but really always into women…into so many women really-but I kept my eyes and another crucial body part tightly closed. Not that any of that actually matters.’
Meet Sofie, a young woman living in Amsterdam who feels unfeminine and is more attracted to women than to men. She feels she’s wrong about pretty much everything: ‘About the boys and the girls, the right answer and – much more importantly – the right question’. This history of her sexuality begins with the loss of her virginity and ends right before she starts to visit the hospital where you can become ‘less of a girl and more of a boy’.Will she ever untangle the impossible knot of sex, love, loneliness, learning, family relationships and grief that constitutes a life? Does it even matter?
Razor-sharp and unconventional, this dazzlingly witty debut novel – a sensation on publication in Europe – challenges, surprises and entertains in equal measure.
“When you travel as a girl, you don’t learn anything about the world. All you learn is that there’s a way of looking at the world that doesn’t belong to you,” says twentysomething protagonist Sofie Lakmaker, who shares a surname and major biographical details with her author. The History of My Sexuality, translated from Dutch by Kristen Gehrman, charts Sofie’s coming of age.” – The Guardian
“Lakmaker’s version of millennial coming-of-age romance stands apart for its unmatched ability simply to keep the wisecracks coming…Hats off, too, to the translator, Kristen Gehrman.” – Daily Mail